My aunt was texting my family a few weeks ago, asking for some thoughts on some restaurants with outdoor seating that she could take visiting family members to eat when they come to Pittsburgh next month. After coming up with a short paragraph of different ideas (and probably overwhelming her!), she semi-jokingly suggested that I write about it here – and I realized it was actually a great idea!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of outdoor dining in Pittsburgh, but it’s a list of my favorites, plus places on my list that I’m hoping to make it to soon. Outdoor seating at restaurants is something that’s been pretty limited for a long time – only in the last few years has it really started to grow. And of course, the restaurants I go to are also limited by accessibility! Some places have outdoor seats, but only high top tables that are well above my head, or picnic tables with attached benches that stop me from being able to get to the table. So basically this is the Guide to Pittsburgh Outdoor dining (Heather’s Version).
Senti has authentic, delicious Italian food. The menu isn’t huge, but it has great variety, and changes seasonally, too. The pastas are all made fresh, and the salmon has been cooked to perfection each time I’ve ordered it. And their tiramisu for dessert is a must! The patio is off to the side of the restaurant – a few of the tables are under an overhang, but most are not protected from the weather. It’s not a huge space, but I’ve sat outside with a group of 6 with no issue.
You’d think with a name of Meat and Potatoes, the dishes at this restaurant would be pretty straightforward, but they’re actually inventive! They do, of course, make a great steak (hence the meat), but you don’t have to be a steak lover to have a great meal here. And while I’m not a fry aficionado, I always order their fries when I go… and have been known to ask for extra aioli to take home with my leftovers. Their patio is decently big, though uncovered, and in recent years they’ve added more (covered) outdoor tables by their front door, too.
DiAnoia’s books early for dinner, so make sure you make a reservation far in advance, especially for their outdoor area. But it’s worth it! DiAnoia’s has an amazing, authentic Italian menu, with lots of options and fresh, made-in-house pasta. And their whipped ricotta spread with their homemade bread is not to be missed! During the pandemic, they added a big covered outdoor section in what used to be a parking lot, with heaters during the chillier weather. It’s a great option for outdoor dining!
Poulet Bleu is a French-American restaurant, and every time I walk by their cute front patio, I’m struck by how much it reminds me of a little French bistro! They have lots of small plates on their menu, with a few larger main courses and, true to their French inspiration, a few steak frites options too. The tables on their covered front patio can be reserved, and they also have a rooftop that’s walk-ins only, though I’m not sure if it’s accessible.
Gaucho is an Argentinian steakhouse-style restaurant, and if you’re a meat eater, you will love it – their meat is some of the most flavorful and tenderest that I’ve ever had. They moved into a downtown space a few years ago, making it much easier to get a table without a very, very long wait. They don’t have a patio, but they do have a fun rooftop space where you can dine and enjoy the downtown skyline at the same time.
There are a few “galleys” around Pittsburgh – they’re basically restaurant incubators. There are 4 different options inside the space, each a mini restaurant of its own with a small menu. You can order at the counter at whichever one you want (or more than one, it’s up to you!) and then the food is brought out to your table. They have a huge outdoor patio – no reservations, but since it’s counter service, people don’t tend to stay for hours so it’s not too hard to get a table. And now there’s a Millie’s in Bakery Square too – perfect for dessert!
When I worked in Oakland, The Porch was one of my go-to’s. It’s actually owned by the Eat’n’Park restaurant group, but you wouldn’t know it from the menu – it’s definitely more upscale. The miso cod is one of my favorite dishes, their potato appetizer is always good, and if you’re a pizza fan they have some great made-in-house options. As you might guess from the name itself, they have a great outdoor space! In Oakland, it’s a mix of high and low top tables, some covered and some not. They have a location in the South Hills, too, and I know they have an outdoor patio there as well.
It can be really hard to get a reservation at Pusadee’s Garden – they open reservations 30 days in advance, and if you don’t jump on it, you’ll miss out (or you’ll be eating at 10 pm). The restaurant is small but the menu is full of incredibly delicious Thai food. They used to be BYOB, but expanded a few years ago and now have a full bar menu, too. Their garden space is the best – they won’t guarantee you an outdoor table based on your reservation, but they’ll prioritize you for outdoor seating if you note it in the reservation.